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A goofy kid just trying to make sense of the world while trying to be Asian American


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Exploring Microaggression: Is everyone a racist? Can Comedy Justify a Little Racism?

showing my asian booty by the bay bridge

showing my asian booty by the bay bridge

By Airec Sype.

Edited by Broscobar

 

“You’re pretty cute, for an Asian guy.”

One of the many phrases that I’ve heard in my life that opposes my ethnicity as an Asian-American. That disclaimer lingers in my mind; are they trying to flatter me and what attractive features I actually possess, or are they trying to sneak an insult about the lack of attractive features my ethnicity at large possesses?

If I’m cute, then why need to add a qualifying clause. Why the need for a justification!? I’m flattered, but what about all the other Asian boys? Dose she (and others who utter this phrase) think that the majority of Asian males are ugly, or weird-looking, or perhaps strange anime characters who belongs in J-pop bands?

Other statements like, “You’re not that smart for an Asian,” or, “You probably know some form of martial arts,” also resonates with me. Despite the last statement being pretty badass (cuz we AZN kick ass), it seems clear that there are plenty of stereotypes (positive and negative) thrown at my face constantly.

In fact, recently I’ve learned that these kinds of statements that includes an Asian qualifying clause, is a form of microaggression. Hell, I wrote a whole blog post about it a month ago.

It’s sometimes difficult determining which form of microaggression to praise and which to reject in an angry-minority-blogger-kind-way. Sure I’ll gladly accept the fact that you think I’m cute, but I will revile this common unholy standard of attractiveness for Asians and this belief  of a small penis!!! (>.<) !!!

So how do we determine what is OK to say and if the person who spoke the offense, if any, is at fault?

My buddy, Daniel, 25, of San Francisco, says, “Sometimes the person who committed the microaggression may not be aware of it, and yet it happens all the time when people use generalization based on race, gender, or use stereotypes.”

What does that mean? If I say that all Asians are good at math, then does that mean I’m a little bit racist? Or if I say that all Jewish people are good at saving money, does that mean I secretly think Jews are cheap? Or if I open a door for a random girl, then does that mean I’m secretly a misogynist? (Actually true story, some woman on my first week of college got upset at me for opening the door for her, pff. She should have walked faster if she didn’t want me to give her a taste of my gentlemanly qualities!)

This is all confusing, I’m sure. I, too, am also at fault for spewing negative racial, sexual, cultural and many other -als out there. Especially during a heated game of HALO! But I don’t think I’m a racist; I think I’m just a jackass in the nicest way possible. This does not stop me from using microaggressive Asian stereotypes as jokes or joke about other racial (or any other class of people) stereotypes.

Can an Asian make racial jokes about Asians? I’m sure I can; I’m Asian.

. . . don’t lie you P.C. America; we all do it . . . it could be in a subtle-behind-closed-doors form or in a vulgar matter . . . we’re (well a large sum of us) idiots, which is why half of the world hates us . . .

 

The Mexican is strong in my friends cooking

The Mexican is strong in my friends cooking

Here is an example of me exercising my microaggressive urges. A friend of mine, Martin, 28, a college educated man of San Francisco, made carne asada fries and I comment: “The Mexican is strong in you.” Did my comment imply that my friend is now a better Mexican because he can make these south of the boarder fries . . . hell yea. I won’t shy away from calling my statement a little racist. Like how I would post on my black friends Facebook wall, “Happy Martin Luther Kings Day.”

Martin returned the joke by saying, “My parents would be proud, Airec Syprasert.” Our banter is one that implies that he is a better “Mexican” because of his skill to cook a dish with a Latin flavor, instead of his career. This is the kind of relationships that me and many other people in the world have with their friends. We share a racially open alliance where one could use racial stereotypes to aid or hurt one another, all for a good laugh . . . or a stinging burn!

Comedians like Dave Chappelle and Kevin Shea also uses racial stereotypes in their jokes, but the general public views them as comics rather than racists.

Was it racist when Shea says, in the video, that black people have white people to “worry” about, or that the last Asian man on Earth would be chasing his dog for dinner? Yeah. But it’s funny! The comedy of truth. Even today the internet is popping up with numerous of blogs and vblogs ranting about how white people are oppressing blacks in America.

Here is Jimmy O. Yang with some more Asian stand-up. It’s funny but borderline racist.

In the name of microaggression, the blanket word that shines an ugly racial light onto everything American, it does seem like everything is a tad-bit-sometimes-always-a-baby-racist. But if everything is racist, then that’s bad right? If everything racist is bad, then why do comedians make racially profound jokes/commentary, or why do best friends throw offensive hay-makers and maybe an occasional n/c-word or two?

My Jewish friend, lets call him J-Friend, 24, graduate student at USF, believes that the people who uses the term microaggression are hyper politically correct people, claiming that everything is racist.

“Microaggression is one of those terms I can’t help but roll my eyes when I hear it,” he says. “I’m more callous than others but I think racist jokes, and even antisemitic jokes, are hilarious.”

So now with this new generation of “minorities,” we are faced with this racial line that divides actual racism and comedy.

Also, if someone refuses to see comedy in microaggression, then does that mean that person is a little bit racist? Can a person be so politically correct that subconsciously their mind is being microaggressive?

“In some ways though you are right; some people who proclaim to be the most non-racist are basically gentle racists,” J-Friend said. “Like the white Social Justice Warrior(s) f*cks who runs around being every ethnic minorities white knight calling racism everywhere. Like if you’re more pissed off than the supposed victims then it seems like you’re doing it more for mental masturbation than actual justice.”

I will admit that I dislike some of the white SJW at SFSU. I understand that some Caucasians have “white guilt,” but you don’t have to be the forerunner for every minorities battle. This eagerness to jump to a minority defense is what caused some whites to be accused of “march-jacking” the police brutality protest in the Bay Area.

I also cannot stand the minorities that claims that everything is racist. Even some people think Chappelle is a racist. This feeling was ever so true in my Asian American studies classes. Not everything is racist . . . Well let me rephrase that, not everything that can seem racist is meant with malice or harmful intent.

I guess this is why we have terms like microaggression . . . oooppp . . .

“I think racism just is the negative stuff that no one actually inherits or passes down or is proud about, while the positive stuff being cultural tradition type stuff that people are proud about and want to pass on,” Broscobar says, 25, graduate of UC Berkeley. “Jokes are a different matter though. Sincerity goes out the window and it’s all entertainment. Laughing at a racist joke is the goal because it exists in a vacuum; it’s not supposed to be passed on and no one is supposed to want to pass on or inherit the negative stuff.”

Intent seems to be the key factor when it comes to microaggression, everyday human interactions and comedy. When it comes down to it, it’s really hard to say what is right and wrong when friends are throwing blows at each other or when race, and other nouns of oppression, is used as a comedic trope. Race is a touchy subject and will continue to be one as long as there are ignorant people in the world.

However, this and the blanket term “microaggression” shouldn’t hold you back from making a joke, as long if it’s without malice intent (that word again). Comedy is just tragedy plus time right? So is it ok to laugh now? I also don’t think that my friends who says that Asians have small penises are all racist (I’m average when I’m not drunk, fyi), nor do I think they harbor secret racist feelings. They are idiots, but I guess they’re my idoits? Unless you’re like this Asian girls ex-boyfriend, then you’re just a f*cking racist and gets NO pass! So lighten up, throw some microaggression around . . . an intelligent person should be able to determine what is harmful or not: respect each other out there. Don’t be a jackass.

-Till next time, Sype.

-ps, I do think there is still racism out there, I’m just talking about a little bit of diet racism.

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Exploring Microaggression: What the hell is Microaggression?

By Airec Sype

The internet has always been a hub of good ideas: if you’re into stuff like DIY’s or trying to find a non-trendy-but-trendy-hipster place to brunch, or trying to gather up magical tips to help you lose your virginity for the first time. (Porn isn’t a reliable source for educational virgin tips for getting women or losing your virginity btw. Not everyone is lucky enough to just stumble into a threesome). But if you troll the internet a lot, like I do, you will notice that it is a Wild West of ideas with raw-uncensored thoughts. Which, of course, without filtration, the internet is saturated with a lot of racist (but sometimes hilarious) comments.

Instead of me calling it “internet racism,” lets ground this phenomenon in the scholarly world. First coined by Harvard professor Chester M. Pierce in 1970, psychiatrists have described these light “insults and dismissals” as microaggression.

Derald Wing Sue, psychologist and professor at Columbia, defines microaggression as “brief, everyday exchanges that send degrading messages to certain individuals because of their group” that occurs subconsciously when no harm is intended, unaware of the unintentional offense.

For example if I said that all Asians can’t drive, or all Mexicans are illegal immigrants, or all Middle Eastern are terrorist, or all black people can rap, or all Jewish people are cheap, or . . . maybe I’ll stop there . . . then it’s a form of microaggression. I think.

In simple terms, it’s kinda racist but not, but still kinda is . . . like diet racism!!!

Since openly expressing your hate for another racial group, like lynching black people or sending Japanese people into not-so-fun-summer-camps, isn’t the cool thing to do anymore (because we all know how uncool it is to be judgmental and exclusive right bros ‘n hipsters), diet racism seems to be the new trendy form of hate. Especially on the internet. #newhatenowtrending

Sue also states that microaggression appears in four forms: microassault, microinsult, microinvalidation, and microrape. But if you want to explore more of her work or what all of those four micros mean then you can hit up the Wikipedia link provided above like I did. Especially microrape, it’s just as bad as it sounds.

Being a millennial, we have all been exposed to a misguided judgment powered by microaggression, either online or in real life.

One time my brothers and I tried going to a party on the North side in Visalia. Little did we know, it was a Norteños party (gangsters who bang red). The (Mexican) door guy told us that no Gooks were allowed. At that moment, we didn’t know why this guy was being a fucking racist. Then he proceeded to say that if we don’t bang then it’s ok and welcomed us to come in.

Being obviously dumbfounded by his second clause, we asked him to explain what a gook was to him. His definition of a gook was an Asian gang-banger . . . if he or his fellow gang-brothers had seen the movie Full Metal Jacket or took a simple high school history class, he probably would know that being a gook isn’t a simple street banger and that Charlies were also in the trees and not chocolate factories. So instead of embracing his lukewarm idiotic welcome, we decided to get the fuck out of there.

Now I know that not all of us have had access to a gang kind of experience, I know we have all seen this ignorance in the comment sections on YouTube or on Facebook.

While doing research for one of my blog post on A Dark Minded Giggle, I came across some over-generalizations of the African-American culture in the comment section of this YouTube video:

Long story short, LTG defeated Viscant (20-4) in a game of SF4, or as the gaming community we call it: a raping (yeah, we nerds can have a harsh choice of words).

LTG is African-American who presents a “thug” style. Or urban. I don’t really know what to call it. But in the YouTube comments, Uzumaki Naruto provides an explanation on why “ghetto blacks” are how they are.

so microaggressive bro

so microaggressive bro

Now is he trying to be a racist? I don’t know. I’m not a ninja like he is. He does not state that he dislikes African-Americans but offers his own scientific-sociological explanation on why “black communities” are “like that in the first place.”

He may not have malice intent, but you gotta admit that his view of African-American upbringing is pretty fucking racist.

Now let us look at some stuff online that isn’t as harsh as Naruto comments and a little bit more of a diet racism.

BuzzFeed has some examples (like my Azn brotha down there) of racial microaggression in their post “21 Racial Microaggression You Hear on a Daily Basis,” by Heben Nigatu:

Yeah, I’ve heard that one before too brotha

Or this BuzzFeed post by Tayna Chen, “21 Questions Asian Americans Are Sick of Answering

Those two BuzzFeed link shows us some examples of lighthearted stereotypes, if lighthearted racism is a thing. However, BuzzFeed has also been an unintended platform of ugly unfiltered thoughts of microaggression towards Asian Americans as well.

On January 6th, BuzzFeed requested their Facebook followers to ask questions that a civilized person might have for Asian Americans in a new segment called Ask an Asian . . . you must be an idiot or super oblivious if you didn’t know what was coming . . .

I first caught this story from the blog Angry Asian Man after my friends kept posting it to my wall. Basically, along with a some questions people had about Asian culture, there were just some racist ignorant questions.

oh yeah, what do you think was gonna happen

oh yeah, what do you think was gonna happen

here are some that made the cut

here are some that made the cut

It looks like either BuzzFeed deleted some of the comments or they’re somewhere in the “see more” section. If you visit the Angry Asian Man link that I provided above, you can see his compilation of racist questions.

Being an avid poster on Facebook, I too have witness my fair share of internet racism on my comment sections.

these are my friends

. . . these are my friends

To be fair, my friends are dicks. But they’re my dicks. In a non-homo way. Not that there is anything wrong with being gay. Dammit I “microaggression” again.

But seriously? why all this online hostility against Asian Americans. Is it because Asian Americans are viewed as the “model-minority” and we’re suppose to just bend over and take it? Why does no one outside the Asian American race jump to the gun and defend our honor as often as oppose to say an African-American? I want my Social Justice Warrior white knight too! Or in this case Social Justice Samurai! Preferably female and hot like in the movies.

No wonder the Huffington Post reported that Asian Americans are the most bullied.

A friend of mine said the reason why it’s easy to ask such negative questions about Asian Americans is because we are “succeeding” in America. And the reason why this PC America takes more offense to other ethnic misconceptions is because they’re still facing a tough struggle. There could be some truth to that belief, I guess. I didn’t know that Asian Americans won the Minorities War and a seat at the WeMadeIt Table. Yay us! We’re no longer oppressed and now everyone thinks we have big dicks!!!

But we have fallen off track here with my PRO-ASIAN-AMERICAN rant. Let us return to the topic of defining microaggression.

So microaggression is this term that we use in post-racial-politically-correct America to define something (a statement, piece of art, whatever) that does not intend harm but has an underlining oppressive tone . . . yeah, that kind of makes sense. And on the internet, there are a lot of stupid people being racist, sexist, homophobic, and all the other kinds of -ist. But you know what they say: there are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

But wait? If we use the term microaggression to explain something that someone might get butthurt over, then wouldn’t that mean that everything is racist? Like comedy or TV shows? Or your old aunt and uncle who immigrated from a different country who doesn’t know better? Iono, that’s a touchy subject here. But I’ll save this conversation for next time when I explore microaggression even more and question whether there is any validity to the term and debate if everyone’s a racist or if this is just a Social Justice Warrior term that lets everyone know that there is a stick up their ass. Hmm, that last part is kinda of mean.

Till next time, Airec Sype.